A decade ago, social media wasn’t on the business radar for most agents and brokers. It is amazing how things have changed … and continue to change with each new year.

For agents and brokers, 2018 promises to be no different.

There are a couple of key social media trends to watch. You can start to map out a strategy now.

It has been two years since Facebook Live came onto the scene. It picked up speed in 2017. And 2018 will likely be the year for widespread leverage. If you’re not familiar with the feature, think of it as having a live video camera that lets you broadcast in real time no matter where you are.

This feature has already become a mainstay for beauty vloggers and direct sales companies, but real estate agents should also be taking advantage of this tool. The format is likely to continue evolving throughout the year to give you more flexibility in how you use it.

Using Facebook Live, you also can tap into the growing interest in real estate, with shows on HGTV increasing in popularity. Post behind the scenes footage showing how to stage a home, the challenges & obstacles you’re dealing with, the process of setting up for an open house, and buyers getting keys to their dream homes.

You also can use the platform to offer a sneak peek of exclusive showings. Hop on a live call to give a tour of the house before it goes up for sale. Market it as an exclusive pre-showing. Snap pictures of the photographers shooting pictures, drones taking aerial shots of the backyard, and stagers adding final touches in preparation for your upcoming listing.

Next, you can use Facebook Live for your personal branding. This will give prospective clients a reason to know, like and trust you.  It humanizes you and shows people how multi-faceted and interesting you are. You can do this easily by doing your live stream session in your home or with your children, or as life happens.

Showcasing an open house is a perfect opportunity for Facebook Live. Create an event, then during the time of the event, do a video walk-through of the home and point out its key features. Start outside and work your way through the home – just like a buyer would. You can boost the post for even more exposure.

Use the platform to showcase a neighborhood. Neighborhood streams can be done easily by walking or driving around the neighborhood. In the video, talk about the features of the neighborhood like the schools, parks, and shops.

In addition to Facebook Live, chatbots offer another way to tap into today’s social media scene.

2018 will be a pivotal year for chatbots. Real estate agents can leverage this technology to act as their 24/7 communication when a prospect reaches out.

Agents and brokers can find chatbot software that can be customized to their brand and will work with any platform, such as Facebook. It can help you set appointments, respond to questions, and understand the prospect’s responses to deliver the right information.

In addition to providing an exceptional first impression with prospects, it can also provide you valuable data points, such as lead information and analytics. Set it up to transmit data to your CRM or email. It’s basically like having an extra employee, only this one works around the clock and you don’t have to pay overtime or benefits.

The biggest selling point, however, is that chatbots ensure you can respond more quickly to your leads (immediately, in fact) and provide a seamless, consistent impression with each interaction.

These little details can go a long way in showing your clients why you’re the best choice for them.

Each year, changes make social media seem like a new tool, and 2018 will be no different.